About Primary





Hi! We’re primary ~ a girl-powered, internationally-minded creative studio where we design and curate fashion essentials in New York. We're forging a modern, online destination for fashion essentials that celebrate the individual taste of our generation. We believe in the high-low mix, self-expression, creative freedom and above all, that fashion is fun and created by originators like you everyday on the streets.



PRIMARY was founded in 2010 in New York City by Cleo Ahn with the notion of creating a brand that was modern and essential. The first collection was launched with 10 pieces of essential items in luxe fabrics – all made in New York’s famed garment center. The collection has evolved to specialize in leather garments, exotic handbags, washed silk draped apparel designs, and a jersey range made of tencel and modal; fabrics made from wood pulp.

Cleo’s attraction to designing with natural fibers and skins is the durability and longevity of the items. Our in-house collection is designed in-season, and in small batches that are produced at our local factory in New York’s famed garment district. In the Spring of 2014 we expanded our online offering to include other designers that we love and that excel in their specific category. Since our fashion essentials are curated by our team of designers, our knowledge of fabrication, quality and costs, get passed onto you. We also love to collaborate with our friends! We created a fine jewelry collection with LA brand carbon & hyde ~ and have lots more exclusive collections in the pipeline for you.






Cleo began her career in fashion in Vancouver, Canada with costume design in international films and styling fashion editorials and music videos.  Following her experiences in the film industry she moved to New York, graduated the grueling fashion program at Parson’s School of Design, and subsequently spent time at eveningwear ateliers Naeem Khan and Zac Posen. It was within this time that she learned the intricacies of construction and pattern making and was exposed to the New York City garment center and the facilities of the local industry within.

She has contributed to magazines such as Dressed to Kill and her designs for Primary New York have been featured internationally in Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Nylon, FASHION, Flare, and online at Lucky.com, Refinery29, Elle japan, Grazia and more ~ check out the editorials here. Along with designing the in-house line, and curating the brands we carry with Emily, she directs our monthly fashion campaigns, does all of our product photography and shoots fashion influencers in their #primaryessentials for the style series on our blog.

Best way to reach her? Drop her a line on IG! she also runs our instagram account @primary_newyork.


Originally from Australia, Emily started her career in event production. After graduating with a degree in marketing and international business she embarked on a diverse career ranging from brand management, creative marketing, styling, product development, production and buying. She has worked with numerous international brands including Hunter Boots, VPL, Oribe, Lie Sang Bong and Creatures of Comfort as well as renowned fashion stylist Patti Wilson on campaigns for L'uomo, Vogue Italia, Vogue Japan, W Magazine, Mac Cosmetics and Francois Nars.  

An avid traveller she has previously lived in Paris and Saigon, eventually packing her bags for new adventures in New York. Currently the head buyer / brand manager at Primary ~ she also moonlights as the stylist for our eshop + campaign shoots.

Staying true to her Melbournian roots, she is a self confessed coffee addict with an undying love for art, fashion and 90's rap.